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Submitted by UMAMAHESWARI on Sun, 2006-12-24 15:30. ragam bhoopalam
He belongs to the traditional family of musicians and served AIR as the program announcer for three decades. After retirement he found time to focus on his yet another passion that is painting- adding more color to his music. Meet Thiruvizha Jayasankar, the popular Nagaswaram artiste. Chembai Sangeetholsavam begins today with his concert, at the Chembai Trust Sreevaraham.

In an interview, he talks about his carrier, why there are fewer takers for this instrument, and his love for painting. “My father Raghava Panicker, grand father Sanakra Panicker were professional nagawaram vidwans. I chose this profession against my fathers wish. He was well aware of the living conditions of a musician.”

“But, I was initiated into music by my grand father. Our house always reverberated with musical notes. It only supplemented my love for music. I initially learnt vocal music systematically. At the age of ten I opted for Nagaswaram. In those days Ambalapuzha brothers, my father and grand father were the popular nagaswaram artistes. At the age of 14 I accompanied my father as a tala artiste. Madhavan Pillai a great connoisseur of art and music asked me to perform the next day. My father initially resisted this move as he was not satisfied with my performance. “He is not fit yet” was my father’s reaction. Pillai insisted and that was my debut concert and it was well received. I was presented a gold ring” said Jayasankar.
“I won the first prize in the All India Radio National Contest. Dr. Rajendra Prasad presented the Award. Then I joined RLV Academy for Ganabhushanam, Chittoor College Palakkad for BA degree in music, and the Swati Tirunal Academy of music for ganapraveena,” he said.
“With enough back ground in music, what made you to apply for the post of announcer in AIR?” asked G P S Nair, in the interview. I quoted my father,” said Jayasankar.
He believes that his service in AIR made him what he is today. “The opportunities to meet great musicians, to listen to their performances, chances for hearing old gems, etc influenced me and nurtured my taste” said Jayasankar with gratitude.
“Nagaswaram is an asura vadhya. It is very loud. Even then, initially I opted for violin and mrudangam as the accompanying instrument. It had a major draw back. I had to restrain a lot. Being a loud instrument it never matched with violin and mrudnagam. I could not bring the best in me. Then I opted for thavil which offered me more freedom,” said Jayasankar. But today he is accompanied on the mrudangam by Dr. G.Babu, on the Violin by Mahadeva Sarma, and on the Ghatom by Uduppi Sreedhar.
Why there are fewer takers for this instrument?
“It requires more effort and perseverance. Learning process is really tough. Hence only a few pursue.”

“After retirement, I concentrated on painting, my second love. In my teens I was in a dilemma. My mind was bubbling with music and colors. My father advised, music and art require hard work. You cannot achieve both simultaneously. Music demands rigorous practice. Painting demands much patience. Both are time consuming. Hence opt and concentrate on one. After retirement I restarted painting.”

His works are different. They are the portrayal of the raags as experienced by him.

“Initially I chose seven ragas namely Bhoopalam, Mohanam, Amritavarshini, Anadabhairavi, Sankarabharanam, Abheri and Neelambari. I essayed them in acrylic. It was well received” said Jayasankar.

Jayasankar was conferred the title of Kalaimamani, Isai Perarinjar, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academi Award & Fellowship, and the Guruvayoor Puraskaram.
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